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Electric Buses for Health and Climate

School buses that run on diesel produce dangerous air pollutants that impact the health of our kids, our communities, and our planet. The Bezos Earth Fund supports efforts to modernize and electrify school bus fleets across the U.S. and finally put fossil fuel-powered buses in the rear-view mirror.

A row of school buses parked in a parking lot.

There are 480,000 school buses in the U.S., and more than 20 million children ride them to school daily – almost all of them run on diesel. Pollution inside diesel-powered buses is up to 12 times higher than outside. These toxic diesel fumes are a detriment to the health of our kids, increasing their risk of cancer, impacting their ability to learn, and disproportionately affecting children of color and low-income families.

But the answer is within reach.

We partnered with World Resources Institute to tackle this challenge and establish the Electric School Bus Initiative. The Bezos Earth Fund is investing $37.5 million into this work to spur unstoppable momentum toward electrifying all U.S. school buses by 2030.

The benefits are tremendous. In addition to the invaluable health benefits for kids, electric school buses produce the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions of any school bus type, even when accounting for emissions generated in the production of the electricity used to power the buses. This will impact local air pollution while reducing noise and carbon pollution.

The transition will also create jobs and provide cost savings. One recent study suggested that as many as 10.7 million jobs could be created from U.S. investments in electric vehicles. And though the upfront investment is more than that of the diesel-run alternatives, the tradeoffs in the long-term include lower fuel and maintenance costs and providing services to the electric grid – a boon for school districts, fleet managers, and utilities.

Electrifying U.S. school buses will require overcoming cost, infrastructure and policy barriers. An expansive and inclusive approach is the only way to clear the road for mass adoption. By engaging local communities, school districts, utilities, manufacturers, state, and federal authorities, we hope to create a tipping point for electric vehicles in the medium-and-heavy-duty space and the entire U.S. transport sector.

Transitioning to electric school buses is a win-win-win – for all kids, the U.S. economy, and the environment.

Grants

Featured Grant

Equitably Electrifying Every School Bus in the U.S.

Date Awarded

11/2020

Amount Granted

$37.5M

Countries

United States of America

Partners

World Resources Institute, in partnership with Chispa, Mothers Out Front and VEIC and other organizations throughout the U.S.

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